Thursday, June 26, 2008

CCL '08 - Before We Say Goodbye

I think no visit to Langkawi would be complete until you've set foot at and taken pictures with the huge eagle at Dataran Lang (Lang Square).

So, that's exactly what we did on our last day.

It was super-hot that day. So very unlike the previous days when it rained and rained until we had to forgo our plans to build sandcastles at the beach.

We chose to eat KFC for lunch at the restaurant near the jetty. The place was crowded with people.

According to our 'itinerary' we were supposed to also visit Taman Lagenda (Park of Legends) for more picture-taking sessions, but the place was closed due to some major renovation. Apa lah. Instead we headed to one of the malls nearby, just to look-see-look-see. Tak shopping apa-apa pun except for some chocolates.





And with that we bid farewell to the historical Island of Langkawi.

CCL '08 - Horseback Riding (Langkawi Island Horses)

The stables are opened daily (except on Mondays) at 7am-11am and 3pm-6pm. 11am-3pm are the horses' mealtimes and resting times.

We actually had to go there twice. The first time we went (it was around 10am I think) we had to get on a 'wait list' because two other groups were already there, and they had made reservations earlier. The lady at the stable told us we could get our turn at 11am if we wished to wait. Since we didn't have anything else planned that morning, we decided to lepak-lepak at the stables to look around.

Sofea was very eager and kept repeating how "tak sabar" she was.

We watched the first group (a family of 5) climbed up their horses, took the reins and galloped away. Actually, the horses tak 'galloped' pun. It was more of a 'they trotted away led by rope held by experienced trail-leaders on foot'. :)

Clippety-clop, clippety-clop, clippety-clop, off they went into the jungle. The ride (for inexperienced riders) was supposed to last about 15 minutes. Masuk hutan, then trot along a riding trail that would eventually pass by the entrance to The Seven Wells Waterfall, then continue along the main road, and lastly back to the stables.




There was a boy about Aidiin's age in the group that just left, and that boy looked happy and excited as his horse trotted away. So I casually asked Aidiin if he was interested (and felt brave enough) to ride the big horsey. I pointed out the different horses that were there.

"Aidiin tak nak yang black, Aidiin nak yang brown tu", he pointed to a light brown stallion. I later found out that the horse's name is Milko.

I was doubtful (such a teruk Ibu I was), but I didn't want to sound discouraging and I had no intention of dampening his spirit so I told him okay, we'll ask the aunty to give you the brown horsey. He was very pleased.

At around 10:50am, it started to rain. And rained, and rained some more. :( It seemed impossible to go riding in that kind of weather. Cari pasal buat demam je for nothing. So we told the nice lady that we'll come back in the afternoon. Hopefully the weather would be more pleasant then. And Alhamdulillah, it was. Not too hot and not very humid. Just nice-lah.

We were the first ones to arrive for the afternoon sessions. We were asked to choose proper-fitting safety hats (helmets?) while the trail-guides prepped our horses with saddles.




The suspense was building up (fast!)


Sofea was the first to climb on her horse, a gentle black stallion by the name of Don. Then it was my turn, then Aidiin and then famyBoy's. All four of us were supposed to go riding together.



She couldn't stop smiling


Aidiin's horse took four steps forward before my 'macho' son decided to break into tears. He cried out for his Ayah and wanted to get off. Aiseyyy... I knew it was too good to be true. Sedangkan nak pegang burung kecik pun takut, inikan pulak nak ride a big, tall horse! :P



Kakak's and Ayah's horses trotted into the jungle


As it turned out, famyBoy stayed behind to accompany Aidiin while Sofea and I went riding first. We decided that since we'd already paid for four, I'd stay behind with Aidiin later when it's famyBoy's turn to ride. Sofea (ever-willingly) got to ride twice.



He became very quiet and moody


Overall, it was a fun activity albeit a bit expensive (RM45/person for a 15-minute ride, which includes one horse & one trail-guide). A memorable experience, especially for novice riders like us.

Before driving back to the hotel, we stopped for rojak and mee rebus at the gerai-vans near Kok Beach. That was the closest that we got to a beach, without getting caught in the rain.


**View other pictures that I took at the stables.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CCL '08 - Crocodiles and Fishes

The Crocodile Farm

I was a bit disappointed at first because the Crocodile Farm appeared to be a run-down, almost deserted attraction place. Macam ghost town pun ada. I don't remember the place being so poorly kept during my visit in 1997. There's a souvenir shop but it was dark, as if in a blackout. The cafeteria was empty, none of the stalls were opened. It was 12:30pm at the time.

The environment was too quiet, probably because there were no other visitors there except for the four of us and one mat salleh couple. I slightly regretted suggesting the place but how was I to know, aye?

We walked in and came to a row of pens, some had many small crocodiles in them, some had two or three medium ones, and some had single big ones. We stopped to look at one medium-sized crocodile and as I was reading the almost tercabut sign, the animal made a sudden move, opened its mouth wide and closed it shut with a loud 'snapping' sound followed by a really loud 'roar'. Macam kebulur je mamat ni. The kids were alarmed. Aidiin actually cried and started clinging to my blouse. It was quite a scary experience but personally I felt that those 5 minutes made it worth the money we paid for the entrance tickets. Otherwise it was just blerrgh.

After the live 'demo' by the man-eating crocodile, the kids were hesitant to go near other crocodile pens.

The main attraction was this giant crocodile. Or was it an alligator? Tak sure pulak. Not only was it fat, it was also super huge. The walk-on-a-bridge-across-a-pond-of-crocodiles was not too bad. I think that covers everything that's worth mentioning. There wasn't any special shows or feeding sessions or anything. Perhaps we were there at the wrong time.

This picture doesn't really portray the massiveness of this reptile. But believe me, it is HUGE!! Quoting Sofea, "It is as long as Ayah's car!"



A crocodile version of Garfield


Overall, I think the management (if they have the means and budget) should do a better job in maintaining the place (dah nama pun tourist attraction), and taking care of the well-being of its aquatic occupants too.





The Underwater World

This big aquarium was a must-visit for us because:
1. We have not set foot in KLSeeSee's Aquaria (although we've been to the Underwater World in Sydney)
2. The place was conveniently close to the hotel

There is an indoor park at the aquarium (I think it's fairly new) where they have pink flamingos, ducks, and some other species of birds that were either flying above our heads or hiding in some bush or sitting high up in branches of trees. They have the world's smallest monkeys there, too. These monkeys are as big as and looked like squirrels, minus the bushy tails. Their tails are exceptionally long and stripey.

We found most of the cast of Finding Nemo. Oh and also the cast of Happy Feet. :)

We didn't get to witness the shark-feeding show because that entire section of the aquarium was closed for renovation. Bummer. So the kids didn't get to walk through corridors with sea creatures swimming above their heads. Instead, we got to watch a short 3D documentary yang agak pathetic.

I think the highlight of our visit was seeing 'Mr Ray'. This huge stingray fascinated the kids. Mak diorang pun ada sedikit terpegun.



Just imagine how many pieces of ikan bakar cecah air assam this would make


Overall, could be better-lah...


**View other pictures related to this entry here and here.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

CCL '08 - Cable Car & Oriental Village

Eh? Takde orang ke? Ini sudah baguuuuussss!!!

That was the first thing that crossed my mind when we got off the car. Around us, there were four cars (including ours) and one van parked in the parking lot. It was rather strange that the place was so empty and quiet, especially since it was the holidays and all. The last time we were here, in 2002, the place was super packed with people.

Very good-lah if tak ramai orang. No need to queue panjang-panjang like last time.

But boy was I proven wrong.

Rows and rows of a mixture of eager-looking and anxious-looking folks were already there at the ticket counters queueing to buy tickets. And many more already in long lines awaiting their turn to ride on the cable cars. Imagine queue yang berlapis-lapis dan berlingkar-lingkar macam ular itu. From my observation, macam sama ramai je foreigners and locals (Malaysians). But where did these people come from??


As it turned out, we had accidentally missed the first entrance to the Oriental Village (yang lalu under archway Berjaya Resort tu) and drove to the second entrance instead. The first entrance's parking lot was fully parked with cars, vans, Bas Persiaran(s) dan kenderaan-kenderaan yang sewaktu dengannya.

Ah well, c'est la vie. We had come this far so nak tak nak kena queue jugaklah. It was too good to be true anyways, thinking that the place would be crowd-free during the holidays. :P

In the end, it was all worth the wait (we had to stand in queue for almost an hour) to see the excitement on the kids' faces as we started climbing uphill Mount Mat Cincang.



This is one of the times you SHOULD pandang belakang


When we reached the topmost stop (there were two), we got off the gondola to have snacks and drinks at the small makan-makan place up there, which is said to be 710 meters above sea level. The previous stop was at 652.5 meters.

We spent about 30 mins walking around marvelling at the view and taking pictures before deciding to go back down.

Coincidently (or perhaps it was just plain luck), the gondola that arrived to take us down had the number *1* printed on it. An excited little voice had pointed out, "Macam #1 Thomas kan, Ibu?" No prizes for guessing who that person was. :)



L-R: My fat finger. A view of the Oriental Village from gondola 'Thomas'


We had our lunch at the food court in the Oriental Village. The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing through souvenir shops, taking more pictures and playing with bunnies. Lerr... tak cukup ke main dengan arnab hari tu?

The albums@multiply contain pictures taken during our cable car ride and those taken at the Oriental Village, including the ones with Aidiin on a step-n-go bike. :)

We stopped at the Petronas Station at Telaga Harbor to refuel and buy jajan before heading back to the hotel. Since the petrol station was located at a harbor, there were a few boats anchored there as well.



Teringat kat Ikea


More boat pictures here. Orang 'jakun'lah katakan... hee hee hee.

Monday, June 09, 2008

CCL '08 - Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise

When planning a fun outing for kids, you cannot go wrong by choosing a place that has live animals in it, IMHO. Like the zoo or the aquarium, to name a few. The more variety of animals, the better. Budak-budak sure impressed punya, especially if the animals are those that they most likely do not see on a normal basis (unless your parents own a pet store or your house is next to a zoo :P)

With that in mind, we decided to visit the Langkawi Wildlife Park. It rained and rained in the morning, but around noon the weather looked more promising so we decided to go ahead with our original plan. The cool thing about this park is that it has a fully covered walkway so even if it was raining (or extremely hot) you'd still be able to leisurely make your way around without getting drenched (or sunburnt).

As you enter the park, you'd come across a small booth that was set up for visitors who'd like to have pictures taken with a live bird. No payment necessary since you could use your own camera(s).




Sofea broke into girly giggles when the pakcik placed the green parrot on her arm. Aidiin, on the other hand, totally refused and preferred to just watch instead. I tried coaxing him into holding out his hand but he shook his head with a very persistent "Aidiin tak naaak!!!" and was almost in tears. A bit disappointed, I was, but I didn't want to push him further. Somehow he's been quite reluctant in trying out and experimenting new things lately. Ntah kenapa. Should I start worrying??

Further inside the park, there's a koi pond and a small garden where bunnies can run (or rather hop) around. Very very tame, these bunnies. Comel-comel belaka, but since it rained earlier in the morning, they looked comot and wet. They would hop over to greet you as soon as you step in through the little gate, especially when you are carrying a plastic filled with carrots.



Arnab yang comot


Aidiin hesitated at first, but later decided to join his sister and Ayah. Sofea hinted about wanting a pet bunny of her own. Ohhh... tidak bisa!!! I pretended not to hear her.



The park was a heaven for someone who was 'mabuk nak amik gambar' like me. There I was clicking away macam tak pernah jumpa burung. The park's landscaping was done quite beautifully to mimic the natural habitats of the wildlife living in it and one couldn't help feeling at ease at the tranquilness. Ada calming affect somewhat, what with the greenery and sounds of birds, wildlife and waterfalls.





It was also an excellent place to experiment different aperture settings and shutter speeds. *winks at Lollies*


Gambar ni famyBoy yang amik


We had earlier planned to drop by Durian Perangin Waterfall after the park, but it started to rain again so we decided to head back to the hotel. All four of us were exhausted (and hungry) but happy and satisfied.

More pictures here.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cuti-cuti Langkawi '08 - A Background

My first visit to Langkawi was sometime in 1997. I went with my parents and little sister. Masa tu belum start kerja, if not mistaken I was supposed to report for work in about 3 weeks time. I was still single at the time (and many, many kilos lighter). I think it was during school holidays, too, coz otherwise my little sister wouldn't be able to tag along. Geee... that was >10 years ago. My sister pun dah not so little sekarang.

My second visit was in late 1999, during my honeymoon. It was a very quick visit because Langkawi Island was one of the designated stops (after Penang then Phuket, before returning to Port Klang) for the Star Cruises ship. We were given about half a day to go wherever, do whatever on the island before the ship starts to sail to its final destination. I can't recall exactly where famyBoy and I went or what we did *giggles* but I do remember taking pictures at the Lang Square. Tak sah kalau tak amik gambar dengan helang gergasi itu. Memories lain hanya samar-samar saja so I won't list them here.

The third visit was with famyBoy and a then 2-year-old Sofea. That was back in 2002. Masa tu we did not own a digital camera, but we had videos of Sofea singing the "Bangun Pagi Gosok Gigi" song when she realized that her Ayah was filming her every move. We visited quite a lot of touristy places as far as I can remember. Anak kecik sorang still manageable maaa... We even rode in the cable car. I still have a polaroid picture of the three of us at the topmost cable car stop of Mount Mat Cincang. I think my husband paid RM12 that time for the picture to be taken (and laminated). hee hee hee.

All three visits were during my pre-bloggin' days.

When famyBoy (rather last minutely) proposed that we go somewhere during the school hols, I was ecstatic but at the same time a bit worried due to money matters. Cukup ke budget untuk bercuti ni? "In shaa Allah ada...", was his reply. What about transportation and boarding and all other expenses? "I'll take care of it. Ada rezeki, ada lah.", he said. Hmmmph... convincing sungguh.

So, as much as I was looking forward to our cuti-cuti trip, I didn't want to heboh-heboh (nor kecoh-kecoh) in case tak jadi. Even the kids weren't informed about it until about 2 days before D-Day.

And Alhamdulillah, our rezeki memang ada. What better way to 'escape' from the daily routines, the sibuk-ness, the chicken pox episodes, than a family getaway, kan? kan? I felt blessed and thankful for the given opportunity.

The kids were beaming with excitement when I finally told them about vacationing in Langkawi, especially since they'd need to travel by plane to get there.



The Cheeky One and sister at KLIA McD before boarding


During the plane ride, I thought of places to bring the kids to while we were there. The main criteria would be places that they'll be able to enjoy and have fun.

During my previous visits, I'd managed to do most of the touristy stuff at most of the historical locations, so tak rasa terkilan sangat if we skipped most of them this time around. Kinda beats the purpose of vacationing at a historic place, but I'd prefer the kids enjoying themselves rather than forcing them to appreciate and understand something they have not yet been exposed to.

Berpandukan map of Langkawi Island from the internet, these were the places I had in mind (apart from makan seafood sepuas-puas hati, swimming pool splashes and shopping for souvenirs), in no particular order:
- The Oriental Village, also where they have the Cable Car ride up Mount Mat Cincang
- The Underwater World
- Cenang Beach, since it would be close to our hotel
- The Crocodile Farm
- Kuah Town, which would include Dataran Lang (Eagle Square) and the Taman Lagenda Theme Park
- Durian Perangin Waterfall
- The Birds & Wildlife Park
- Horseback Riding (if time permits)

Of course, I had predicted assumed that the weather would be nice and sunny throughout our stay.



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kembali

Returned from our vacation last week and today is the 2nd last day of the two weeks break, but I have not had time to properly blog or blog-hop yet because:

- I had loads and loads of laundry (pre-trip and post-trip) to wash and hang dry, fold and keep
- my fridge is almost empty (except for some frozen finger food in the freezer) hence the urgent need to go grocery shopping
- my cats have not been given baths since April
- I have not watched the (downloaded) final episode of Survivor China. I was away on cuti-cuti break when that episode was aired on tv, but the hotel that we stayed in did not have ntv7!! *sulk* I found out who'd won the million dollar$ from watching the reunion episode last week
- I was busy helping Giselle collect materials to make dresses, befriend forest and city animals, fight monsters and dragons to find her true love in the Nintendo DS version of Enchanted
- all vacation-related pictures are still sitting patiently on my laptop, waiting to be reviewed, selected and uploaded to imagecave/multiply/flickr
- I am trying to finish reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and Ayat-Ayat Cinta because I didn't get to read them during the trip
- we still have some mini-outings and errands to run before the school holidays end
- the house is super messy with the kids' books and toys

In short, we managed to have quite a good break although not as relaxing as I'd hoped it would be. But it was fun fun fun nonetheless, given that it was somewhat a last-minute-go-ahead decision.

More stories (and pictures) later-laterlah, ya? In the meantime, here's a sneak preview.




Can't believe the school holidays are almost over.


 

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